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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"adrenaline," 1883, from epi- "upon" + Greek nephros "kidney" (see nephron) + chemical suffix -ine (2). So called because the adrenal glands are on the kidneys.


n. (context hormone neurotransmitter organic compound English) A catecholamine hormone and neurotransmitter; as a hormone, secreted by the adrenal gland in response to stress (when it stimulates the autonomic nervous system); as a neurotransmitter, synthesized from norepinephrine.


n. a catecholamine secreted by the adrenal medulla in response to stress (trade name Adrenalin); stimulates autonomic nerve action [syn: epinephrin, adrenaline, Adrenalin]


Epinephrine, also known as adrenalin or adrenaline, is primarily a medication and a hormone. As a medication it is used for a number of conditions including anaphylaxis, cardiac arrest, and superficial bleeding. Inhaled epinephrine may be used to improve the symptoms of croup. It may also be used for asthma when other treatments are not effective. It is given intravenously, by injection into a muscle, by inhalation, or by injection just under the skin.

Common side effects include shakiness, anxiety, and sweating. A fast heart rate and high blood pressure may occur. Occasionally it may result in an abnormal heart rhythm. While the safety of its use during pregnancy and breastfeeding is unclear, the benefits to the mother must be taken into account.

Epinephrine is normally produced by both the adrenal glands and certain neurons. It plays an important role in the fight-or-flight response by increasing blood flow to muscles, output of the heart, pupil dilation, and blood sugar. Epinephrine does this by its effects on alpha and beta receptors. It is found in many animals and some one cell organisms.

Jokichi Takamine first isolated epinephrine in 1901. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system. It is available as a generic medication. The wholesale cost in the developing world is between US$0.10 and US$0.95 a vial. In the United States an autoinjector for anaphylaxis, as of 2016, costs about US$600 for two.

Usage examples of "epinephrine".

Marcaine from a 30 cc ampule for his test dose, adding his own 1:200,000 epinephrine.

The resident injected the heart several times with intracardiac epinephrine.

In normal daily life, your levels of epinephrine hover between 200 to 800 nanograms per milliliter.

If I give him epinephrine, it would counteract the vasodilation, but in his weakened state, it could kill him.

The doctors gave her another dose of antihistamine and, after a period of time had elapsed, another of epinephrine.

The panic attack had left behind its debris of epinephrines and excess gastric acids that were fast disappearing down the blood-cleansing apparatus.

What Dylan had not been prepared for, what caused his adrenal gland to squirt another dose of epinephrine into his bloodstream, what caused his guts to tweak in a less than pleasant fashion was the doorway in the wall beside the sink, where earlier no door had been.

It does the things epinephrine does, as one might expect of a chemical compound that is virtually the twin of epinephrine.

Sucking one cc of epinephrine into the hypo, he administered it sub cu in the victim's shoulder.

For instance, nerve endings of the sympathetic system secrete norepinephrine (nor-adrenalin), as I pointed out on page 218, and this is very similar to epinephrine (adrenalin), which I discussed on pages 40-43.

Charles wrote out prescriptions for morphine, Demerol, Compazine, Xylocaine, syringes, plastic tubing, intravenous solutions, Benadryl, epinephrine, Prednisone, Percodan, and injectable Valium.